25 de febrero de 2015 / 15:23 / en 3 años

UPDATE 1-Colombia's Cementos Argos says net profit up 58.8 pct in 2014

(Adds CEO comment, details on 2015 outlook)

BOGOTA, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Net profit at Cementos Argos, Colombia’s biggest cement maker, rose 58.8 percent in 2014 compared with the year before because of an increase in sales domestically and in the United States that was expected to continue this year, the company said on Wednesday.

Profit was up to 291 billion pesos ($145 million), compared with the 183 billion registered in 2013, Cementos Argos said in a filing to Colombia’s financial regulator.

“In our opinion 2015 will be a year when construction and demand for cement will maintain their positive dynamic,” Chief Executive Officer Jose Alberto Velez told investors during a conference call.

Velez highlighted Colombian government spending on public housing and highways.

“We project that volumes will grow by a high rate in infrastructure and a medium rate in housing.”

For its U.S. division, the company is “very optimistic” and anticipates doubling last year’s $68 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

Velez said the company estimates EBITDA in the region for 2015 will reach between $120 million and $130 million.

Operating income at the company, a subsidiary of Grupo Argos , was up 16.8 percent to 5.8 trillion pesos ($2.9 billion) last year, while total EBITDA was up 8.4 percent to 1.06 trillion pesos ($534 million).

Sales of cement were up 8 percent in 2014 to 12.5 million tonnes, while concrete jumped 18 percent to 11 million cubic meters.

A global fall in the price of crude oil may help increase construction this year, further boosting cement and concrete consumption, the company said.

Last year Argos made acquisitions valued at $785 million, invested $230 million in expansion and modernization in various countries and issued bonds which were more than 2.5 times oversubscribed.

The company, which produces both cement and concrete, also operates in Central America and the Caribbean. (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb and Nelson Bocanegra; Editing by Grant McCool)

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